This brief contains an overview of Australia’s commercial fisheries and aquaculture industries and six key aspects of Australian commercial fisheries and aquaculture including: industry structure, trends in production, trade, consumption, sustainability and innovation.
Australia’s fisheries span across a large area of ocean. Australia has the world’s third largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Australian Fishing Zone, which straddles both the territorial sea and the EEZ has an area of over 8 million km2 and is larger than the area of mainland Australia. This zone contains mainly Commonwealth managed fisheries. State jurisdictions operate mainly in coastal waters up to the 3 nautical mile limit. Australia also participates in international fisheries.
The majority of economic activity (wild-catch and aquaculture) occurs within state managed fisheries. This is because of the location of high value wild-caught species and the location of aquaculture production closer to shore.
Despite having one of the largest fishing areas in the world, Australia is a minor producer of fisheries products. This is primarily because of the relatively low biological productivity of the Australian marine environment, and also because Australian fisheries are carefully managed to ensure sustainable seafood is available over the longer term.